Holcombe came through the Kent Derby Double-Header at the weekend with a win and a draw away to Canterbury at Polo Farm.
England Hockey Women’s National Premier League
Canterbury HC 1-1 Holcombe HC
Scorers: Canterbury HC: Aimee Plumb
Holcombe HC: Ellie Watton
Polo Farm Sports Club, Canterbury
Holcombe travelled to Canterbury on Saturday evening in the first National Premier League Kent derby of the season.
The hosts went into the game rooted to the foot of the table as one point from their opening six games left them adrift of the rest of the league. On the other side, Holcombe made the journey East following a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Clifton the previous weekend; their third stalemate of the campaign.
With more than just points on the line, a large crowd gathered at Polo Farm to witness a fast-paced opening period. An early strike across goal from Holcombe Captain Steph Elliott forced a good save from Helen Fagg as the visitors were the first to threaten.
Late in the first half, after the initial strike from Emma Trunks was saved by Fagg in the Canterbury goal, Holcombe’s second phase penalty corner fell to Sarah Jones who was denied twice more by the Canterbury goalkeeper to ensure the local rivals went into the break on level terms.
An early break from Canterbury forced a good smothering save from Rose Thomas in the Holcombe goal but just over 10 minutes into the half, the deadlock was finally broken.
A flowing move down the right-hand side from Holcombe saw Sarah Jones pull the back from the baseline for Ellie Watton to convert from close range for her third goal of the season.
Shortly after, Holcombe debutant Tanya Britz’ driving run at the heart of the Canterbury defence was thwarted by a fine save from the on-rushing Helen Fagg as the visitors threatened to double their lead.
With just over 10 minutes to play, the home side were rewarded for their persistence with a foothold in the contest through 15-year-old Aimee Plumb.
A well-worked penalty corner from England International Grace Balsdon provided a free shot for Mel Clewlow. With Thomas committed on the floor to make the save, Plumb swept the ball home from close range to set up a tense final period.
Buoyed by their equaliser, the home side pushed forward and a smart save from Thomas to deny Hayley Turner from close range kept the score line level.
With time running down, there was still time for a late penalty corner variation from the home side to force yet another save from Holcombe’s Welsh International in goal as the honours were left even at Polo Farm.
England Hockey Men’s National Premier League
Canterbury HC 1-5 Holcombe HC
Scorers: Canterbury HC: Michael Nowakowski
Holcombe HC: Nick Bandurak x4, Richard Lane
Polo Farm Sports Club, Canterbury
Following a disappointing loss away at Wimbledon last weekend, Holcombe Men took the field for their second Kent Derby of the campaign against Canterbury.
The Home side went into the game following a morale-boosting victory against Premier League new-comers Sevenoaks last weekend, picking up their first points of the season.
Holcombe came into the contest with two wins from their last three as a large number of travelling supporters made their way down the M20 to bolster an enthusiastic home support.
On a cold night in Canterbury, it was the visiting side that started the quickest, as the home side were forced deep into their own half from the first phase of the game.
With the crowd still settling, it was Holcombe that struck first.
Good work from Glenn Eyres down the right side of the pitch led to a scramble in the Canterbury circle. With the initial clearance from Nathan Redmond in the Canterbury goal falling straight to Nick Bandurak, his backhand finish gave the visitors the lead inside of two minutes.
Threatening to respond immediately, James Oates’ cross flashed across the face of the Holcombe goal, only to just drift pass the post from Craig Boyne.
A driving run from Barry Middleton threatened to double the visitors’ advantage before Michael Nowakowski’s fierce drag-flick brought the hosts level in the 29th minute.
Some tenacious defending from the home side kept chances to a premium and a later penalty corner for Holcombe was brilliantly cleared off the line by Daniel Schellinger, only for Holcombe Captain Richard Lane to see his rebound effort just miss the near post.
Early in the second half, Holcombe had the second goal they had been threatening.
A driving run from Dan Webster eliminated four Canterbury defenders before, with the goalkeeper committed, Nick Bandurak scrambled home at the back post to put the visitors back in front inside the first minute.
Just 10 minutes later, a green card for the hosts left them defending deep in their own half. Holcombe methodically progressed the ball up the pitch before Alistair Bray’s ball into the circle fell to Bandurak who’s first-time strike doubled their advantage.
With just over 10 minutes to play, Holcombe extended their lead through Captain Richard Lane. A strong run through the left of Midfield led to a smart interchange with Bandurak before Lane struck home on the volley for his third of the season.
With the game now opening, Canterbury became stretched as they searched for a way back into the contest. Just four minutes after they scored their fourth, the visitors had a fifth.
Alistair Bray’s long aerial ball fell to Nick Bandurak in the Canterbury half. With just one defender left deep for the hosts, Bandurak cut inside before finding a reverse-stick finish to round off the scoring in an entertaining Kent Derby at Polo Farm as Holcombe ran out comfortable 5-1 winners.
Image Credit: Andy Smith and Theresa Waight